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‘Assemblies for All’: Humanists UK launches groundbreaking school resource hub

Schools wanting to deliver inclusive assemblies instead of compulsory religious worship can now access a groundbreaking new resource hub featuring hundreds of inclusive assemblies, after Humanists UK developed the first model of its kind for schools to roll out across the UK.

Assemblies for All comprises more than 200 high-quality, inclusive assemblies for Key Stages 1 to 5 across 30 diverse themes, none of which promote one particular religion or belief, making them suitable for all pupils regardless of their religious or non-religious background.

The assemblies cover diverse themes such as the environment, physical and mental health, arts and culture, and religious and secular holidays, and have been developed by a wide range of organisations including charities such as Unicef UK, Amnesty International, and WaterAid, the UK Parliament, the BBC, businesses, and many others.

Teachers are signposted to the assemblies on the website of the creator organisation, where they can easily download scripts, presentations, videos, and speaking notes they can use. Teachers can also explore a calendar of over 250 events and plan assemblies around key dates including holidays, festivals, and international awareness days.

The UK is the only country in the world to impose compulsory Christian worship as standard in its state schools. In an August poll of 1,500 British adults, respondents, including parents, ranked religious worship as the least appropriate activity out of 13 possible themes for school assemblies, with the environment, physical and mental health, arts and culture, and historical events among those ranked as more suitable.

In July Humanists UK announced it is supporting Lee and Lizanne Harris, two English parents who are taking a legal case to try to make schools provide a meaningful alternative of equal educational worth for those pupils withdrawn from collective worship.

Humanists UK’s Chief Executive Andrew Copson said: ‘Schools are increasingly turning away from providing compulsory Christian worship despite it being required by the law, and instead want to replace it with inclusive assemblies which welcome all pupils regardless of their religious or non-religious background. Now teachers have a one-stop shop of high-quality, inclusive assemblies with hundreds of resources to draw upon.

‘We encourage teachers to make use of this great new hub so that they can offer truly inclusive and welcoming assemblies to their pupils.’

Religious Education teacher Lisa O’Connor said: ‘Assemblies for All is an invaluable teaching resource for those wanting to deliver high-quality, inclusive assemblies that are suitable for pupils from all backgrounds. These assemblies form a vital part of the spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development of pupils but, up until now, teachers like me have either had to waste time searching for standalone resources or make their own.  I am very impressed by how user-friendly the site is in terms of grouping by age and theme. It will definitely be a boon to time-pressed educators.’

Lee and Lizanne Harris said: ‘We withdrew our children from assembly after discovering that they were being made to not only say prayers, but were also exposed to evangelical preachers who had some very harmful, divisive views. Ours is a state community school with no religious ethos so we were alarmed to see this level of religious interference creeping into our children’s education.

‘But until Assemblies for All was launched, there was no clear model of what the alternative to religious worship would look like. We very much hope many schools and teachers will adopt this excellent model of inclusive assemblies which will make all children feel included and welcome.’

Notes:

For further comment or information, please contact the Education Campaigns Manager Ruth Wareham at ruth@humanism.org.uk or phone 0207 324 3000.

Visit the Assemblies for All website.

Read more on the collective worship poll.

Read more about the legal case on collective worship.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by over 85,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.

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